What's the best solution for Riqui Puig so that he continues his development and hones his already impressive skill set? The young midfielder is at an important stage of his career. He's just turned 20, an age where you have endless energy and are desperate to prove yourself to everyone. He's no longer viewed as a youngster, one for the future, but as someone that is ready to establish himself as a footballer. Riqui has an incredible attitude, is wonderful with the ball at his feet, impressive vision and carries with the ball with grace. He's got all the tools to succeed at the highest level.
El dilema que viene con Riqui Puig
Now here's the dilemma. Is he ready for a place in the senior squad and will he get the playing time he needs? The most romantic amongst you would insist he does and should. The belief at Barça, unlike at other teams, is to give academy players a chance to succeed in the first team. It's better to hand an opportunity to a La Masia graduate, who knows the philosophy inside out, than signing a multimillion-pound player who could quite easily fail as much as he could succeed. Riqui definitely fits into that category but modern football is less about romance and more about realism.
MAYBE A 'GAP YEAR' FROM BARÇA WILL HELP HIS DREAM COME TRUE
What is very clear is that Ernesto Valverde is a huge fan of the kid but simply doesn't have a place for him. "For us it's an advantage he could alternate between the two sides, that way he can help out both." This is due to the fact there's already far too many central midfielders in the Barça squad. Riqui has been involved throughout preseason, and looked very good too, but he's set to get lost in the shuffle once everyone is available for selection again.
The question then becomes: Do you loan Riqui out to a LaLiga or second division side so that he could get crucial top-level minutes to aid his development or do you keep him with Barça B, playing against lower level opposition but he trains alongside the first team? The club might prefer the first option but it appears the player wants to remain at the Camp Nou in whatever role that entails. That's understandable as his dream is to 'make it' at Barça. But if his dream is to establish himself at the club, it might require him to spend a season away from his familiar surroundings and prove his worth at the highest level. He isn't short of offers either.